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| two way conversation | Hiroh Kikai

June 4, 2008

Heavy Light: Recent Photography and Video from Japan at at the International Center of Photography, May 1 6 – September 7, 2 0 0 8. New York.

A group show that brings together 13 contemporary Japanese photographers representing the many faces of contemporary Japan. As a whole, the exhibition shows a culture in transition, remembering its past, but responding drastically to a volatile present and illuminates the ways in which Japanese artists view their society and culture today.

Among the artists is Hiroh Kikai, 鬼海 弘雄. Working with a Hasselblad camera and presented in the nostalgic of silver/gelatin, black & white prints, photographs his subjects in even, natural light as they stand in a pose of their own choosing . We are presented with portraits of men and women who are just seen as an individual in front of the camera.

Kikai says that he rarely spends more than 10 minutes with any of his subjects. But in that time he manages to carry out an intense study of their attire, physiognomy, body language, and expression. With surprising frequency, he is able to capture in a few exposures an image that does more than suggest the outlines of his sitter’s personality. With a radical economy of photographic means, Kikai seems to isolate and lay bare his subject’s essential character. He says that his aim is to create portraits that set in motion what he calls a “two-way conversation between the viewer and the picture.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 6, 2009 10:53 am

    I interviewed Kikai in Tokyo in May of last year. You can read an excerpt from the interview here.

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